It must be photo contest season. Hardly a day goes by without me seeing at least one notification about an upcoming photography competition. Some have substantial prizes, others offer recognition and exposure. Are they worth it? And what are you getting yourself into? The answers are in the fine print. You do read all the contest rules, don’t you?
There are as many reasons to enter NANPA’s Showcase photo competition as there are photographers. For some, winning Best in Show or Judge’s Choice serves as an endorsement of their skill, and can be added to their bio and marketing materials. To others, recognition by the judges is a validation of their devotion to nature photography, a payoff for the years of effort they put into improving their skills. And, for still others, selection of their photo is both a personal triumph as well as a challenge; applause for how far they’ve come and a challenge to continue getting better.
Each year NANPA recruits a panel of outstanding judges to evaluate Showcase entries. If you’ve entered before, or read a copy of Expressions, you’ve seen the exceptional caliber of the judges. So, it should come as no surprise that this year we have another stellar group. Some are familiar names to NANPA members, others may not be. Regardless, they constitute a highly-qualified collection of experts in nature photography, as you’ll see from their bios.
Entering a photo contest can be a great way to gain recognition, from fellow photographers as well as the general public. But there are many other reasons to participate. Entering can juice up your creativity, make you practice new skills, hone in on photographic perfection, and inspire you to go beyond your comfort zone. What are your reasons? A NANPA survey wants to know.
NANPA wants nature photographers’ opinions about photo contests. Why do you enter? What do you expect to get out of participating? Win or lose, how do you like to see the winning photos? (I know I love seeing the top photos, online or in print. They give me so much inspiration and so many ideas for compositions and potential locations for future photo trips.)
Your answers will shape NANPA’s approach to photo contests. The survey’s open to anyone but Friday, December 13th, is the last day. So, take five minutes to answer a few questions and help NANPA understand your thinking about photo contests.
A special thank you to everyone who celebrated Nature Photography Day on June 15 and to all who entered the photo contest. Make plans now to enter one of the most prestigious photo contests in the nature photography community: the NANPA Showcase Photo Competition. Competition opens August 1.
George Lepp reflecting on his career in a keynote at the 2019 Nature Photography Summit.
Last month’s Nature Photography Summit is over. Images from the trip have been processed. Gear and clothes have been cleaned and suitcases put away. Fortunately, there’s always something exciting we can look forward to. So, what’s next on NANPA’s hit parade?
At the Summit, NANPA announced that the next Nature Photography Celebration will be in Asheville, NC, April 19 – 22, 2020. The previous Celebration, in Jackson, WY, in 2018, featured location shoots, workshops, informative presentations, gear demonstrations and much more. Circle the dates on your calendar. More information will be coming.
NANPA celebrates Nature Photography Day on June 15th with a variety of events, from a photo contest to local workshops. This annual event encourages people to explore with a camera the natural world around them, whether that’s their own backyard, a local stream or a national park. Nature Photography Day promotes the enjoyment of nature photography and shows a wider public all over the world how images can be used to advance the conservation and protection of plants, wildlife and landscapes close to home and far away. Stay tuned for more information.
This year’s Showcase Competition kicks off August 1st. Exclusively for NANPA members, Showcase is your opportunity to win prizes, get your photos featured on NANPA’s website, blog and printed in Expressions, NANPA’s annual publication. You can see the top 250 images from last year’s competition, browse back issues of Expressions, or order your copy of this year’s Expressions. Get inspired and get out there shooting!
Throughout the year, NANPA offers several Regional Events, two- to four-day field tours led by outstanding photographers with intimate knowledge of the area and photographic opportunities. Attendance is limited. The June astrophotography in Arches National Park workshop is already sold out but you can still register for October’s workshop in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
NANPA also hosts a webinar series, open to members. The next webinar, VisionQuest Photography presented by Shane McDermott, will be on March 29th. Registration is free. You can also visit the webinar archives and view past recordings that cover a wide array of subjects. Have a nature photography topic you’re passionate about? Maybe you should contact us to present a future webinar!
NANPA’s Ethics Committee recently released guide to Ethical Field Practices. You can download a pdf of the guidelines or request cards pre-printed with the guidelines. In addition to helping us ensure we follow the best ethical practices, these documents make great handouts for camera clubs, Meetup groups and at other opportunities to spread the word about ethical nature photography. NANPA also has statements on Access to Public Lands and Truth in Captioning.
NANPA’s Conservation Committee has been busy, too. They recently launched the NANPA Citizen Science initiative, a database of science and conservation projects that welcome and can use the help of a nature photographer. Check it out. You, too, could be a citizen scientist! Know of a local citizen science project? Let us know so we can add it to the database. Coming soon is a Conservation Handbook.
NANPA sponsors a number of Meetup groups which bring people in the same area together to photograph nature. Check for one in your area and follow NANPA on the social media platforms of your choice.
As you can see, there’s always a lot going on at NANPA, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of NANPA’s member benefits. Are you taking advantage of all NANPA has to offer? One way to be sure is to check the New Member Resource Center, for an up-to-date listing of all the benefits and opportunities that come with your NANPA membership.
“Fox Family” won an award in the National Parks Contest.
Story and Photography by Karen Schuenemann
A few years ago, a friend said to me, “You already have NO.” I asked what he meant. His response has stuck with me ever since, and has served me well. If you sit back and don’t put in the effort, you already have NO. If you don’t try something that you dream about doing, you already have NO. If you don’t attempt to do anything at all, you already have NO.
There are as many reasons to enter Showcase 2019 as there are photographers. For some, winning Best in Show or Judge’s Choice serves as an endorsement of their skill, and can be added to their bio and marketing materials. To others, recognition by the judges is a validation of their devotion to nature photography, a payoff for the years of effort they put into improving their skills. And, for still others, selection of their photo is both a personal triumph as well as a challenge; applause for how far they’ve come and a challenge to continue getting better.
If a nature photographer clicks her shutter in the wilderness, and no one else is around to hear it, can it still make an impact? It sure can! The work of professional and aspiring nature photographers can save ecosystems, species and beautiful landmarks. NANPA understands the important work you’re doing.
And better than the sound of one hand clapping, NANPA and the NANPA Foundation have many ways to recognize and support the work, career or budding potential of nature photographers. All during the year, there are opportunities to apply or nominate someone for an award, a grant or other recognition.
Several are running now or about to start. Let’s take a look. One could be tailor made for you!
A special thank you to everyone who celebrated Nature Photography Day on June 15 and all who entered the photo contest. Make plans now to enter one of the most prestigious photo contest in the nature photography community the 2019 NANPA Showcase Photo Competition. Competition opens August 1. Learn more now.